- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 19, 2000

The aftermath sounded similar to what was coming out of the Washington Capitals' dressing room a month ago, when the team was playing less than inspired hockey and was well below .500 in the standings.
"We have to play a 60-minute game just like they did," defenseman Sergei Gonchar said last night, moments after the San Jose Sharks completed a 5-3 victory over the Caps, breaking Washington's four-game winning streak and nine-game unbeaten streak at MCI Center (7-0-2).
The loss came on the day goalie Olie Kolzig learned he had been named NHL player of the week for his exploits last week a 3-0-0 record with a goals-against average of 1.01.
That was last week, although Kolzig could hardly be faulted for everything that took place last night. The Caps took chances, and the Sharks responded as a good team will and made Washington pay.
"We were playing well, and sometimes when you're playing well, you think you've got a lead [and] everything will take care of itself," said Gonchar, who had the Caps' first two goals and assisted on the third. "It didn't work. Like I said, you have to play well for 60 minutes. We let our guard down, and that's why we lost the hockey game."
Not that it's a complete disaster; Washington remains a game above .500. But a win last night could have extended its lead in the Southeast Division to six points.
It was a game for 40 minutes the score was 3-3 when the middle period ended but Scott Hannan's shot through a crowd five minutes into the third was the winner. Todd Harvey added an empty-netter in the closing seconds for his third goal of the night.
With two of the top-rated goalies in the league Kolzig and Evgeni Nabokov facing each other, it figured to be a low-scoring game, so, of course, it wasn't.
The confidence the Caps have rediscovered was on display early and was bolstered when Gonchar scored 2:20 into the game on a power-play drive from 50 feet. After Scott Thornton was left glaringly unguarded two minutes later, he tied it for San Jose. But Gonchar put the Caps back in front at 9:18 of the first when he tapped his own rebound behind the goalie.
Harvey tipped a Patrick Marleau drive past Kolzig six minutes into the second to tie the game, but Adam Oates broke the tie when a Gonchar deflection came to him and he calmly wrapped it around the left post at 11:18 for Washington's second power-play score of the night.
But brain cramps settled in. In quick order Steve Konowalchuk and Andrei Nikolishin took minor penalties, giving the Sharks a two-man advantage for 1:14. San Jose only needed 15 seconds for Gary Suter to rip a shot past a screened Kolzig, and it was tied again.
With the loss, Kolzig put off his chance to catch Don Beaupre in career wins by a Caps goalie for another night. Beaupre has 128, one more than Kolzig.

Notes Oates tied Jean Beliveau for 25th place on the all-time scoring list with 1,219 points when he scored in the second period… .
Right wing Ulf Dahlen's back was still sore yesterday, so he didn't take the morning skate and was a medical scratch. Defenseman Brendan Witt is back on skates but still has not recovered from a bout with the flu and also was scratched… .
Center Jan Bulis, out with a broken thumb since Nov. 22, is skating and shooting the puck, meaning his return is "not that far away," according to Caps coach Ron Wilson. When he does come back, it will present an interesting personnel problem. The Caps appear to like their current lineup at center, meaning Bulis would have to move to wing. That would create an excess of wings… .
Left wing Craig Berube was the only healthy scratch… . The Christmas trading moratorium goes into effect today and continues through Dec. 27.

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